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spermatozoa, or sperm, in animals; pollen in seed plants) while females produce large gametes (ova, or egg cells).Individual organisms which produce both male and female gametes are termed hermaphroditic.Disregarding intermediates, the basic distinction between asexual and sexual reproduction is the way in which the genetic material is processed.Typically, prior to an asexual division, a cell duplicates its genetic information content, and then divides. In sexual reproduction, there are special kinds of cells that divide without prior duplication of its genetic material, in a process named meiosis.A paper from 2004 compared the chicken Z chromosome with platypus X chromosomes and suggested that the two systems are related.

The defining characteristic of sexual reproduction in eukaryotes is the difference between the gametes and the binary nature of fertilization.In addition to animals, plants, and fungi, other eukaryotes (e.g.the malaria parasite) also engage in sexual reproduction.Some of the many plausible theories include: that sex creates variation among offspring, sex helps in the spread of advantageous traits, that sex helps in the removal of disadvantageous traits, and that sex facilitates repair of germ-line DNA.Sexual reproduction is a process specific to eukaryotes, organisms whose cells contain a nucleus and mitochondria.

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